Edgar Allen Poe’s last finished poem ‘Annabel Lee’, published posthumously, leaves the readers with the same sense of gloominess that sets the theme and mood of most of his poems.
Environing around the theme of death coupled with love, the narrator recounts memories of his childhood love Annabel Lee – a character many critics propose to be based on poet’s real life love and wife who had died of tuberculosis (Carlson, 1996, p.103). It is the theme of narrator’s love for the maiden that leads to the jealousy of angels who through their conspiracies cause the death of Annabel Lee thereby inoculating the theme of death in the poem. With the use of symbols like ‘tomb’ and ‘chilling’, the poet has further manifested death as a major theme of the poem. Starting from ‘a kingdom by the sea’ the poet transforms the theme of love in the later verses as death confronts his beloved. As the narrator explains the immortality of their love, the very theme of death brings the theme of love full circle.
Natural to the theme of death and disaster, the mood of this poem reflects tints of sorrows and gloominess not only through the choice of poet’s words, but also through the imageries of storm and burial. Even with an idea of immortality of the couple’s love, the poet stages the environment with nostalgia and wilderness.
As the poem is narrated by the lover of a dead maiden, its point of view has an aspect of devotion (Carlson, 1996, p.104). The narrator has reconciled with the tragedy to transform the nature of sorrow with traces of dedication if not obsessive and pathological regret for the death. This brings a touch of fidelity attached to a point of view rich with melancholy. Overall the poem’s point of view is divided into dark and bright parts. With the recount of Annabel Lee’s death, the point of view is melancholic. However, with the conviction of narrator’s immortal love for the maiden, the point of view is tilted to the brighter elements in the poem.
Succinctly speaking, the poem’s theme, mood and point of view are painted with strokes of melancholic acknowledgement of love.
- Carlson, E.W. (1996). A Companion to Poe Studies. Westport CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.